Sheptytsky Institute Hosts Historic Symposium

Sheptytsky Institute Hosts Symposium

Honouring the Legacy of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky:

Ethical Action in Extreme Conditions

On April 25, 2012 the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute hosted a historical symposium at Saint Paul University.  Organized in conjunction with the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative and the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa, the Sheptytsky Institute had the honour to welcome the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations along with international scholars, academic and community participants for a half-day symposium honouring the heroic deeds and courageous public witness of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in the face of the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews in World War II.

Among the 20 distinguished members of the Council were: His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church); His Holiness Filaret (Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate); His Eminence Mefodiy, (Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church); Most Reverend Markiyan Trofimyak (Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine); Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich (Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine); Sheikh Ahmad Tamim (Grand Mufti of Ukraine), and various representatives of Protestant denominations and communities in Ukraine. In addition there were various resource persons and assistants accompanying the group.

Dr. Chantal Beauvais, Rector, Saint Paul University delivered greetings to the over 180 participants as did Mr. James Temerty, Chair of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE) which sponsored the visitors.  Both Patriarch Sviatoslav and Rabbi Bleich brought greetings on behalf of the Council.

The discussion panel was chaired by the Very Rev. Dr. Peter Galadza (Kule Family Chair of Eastern Christian Liturgy, Sheptytsky Institute).  The program of speakers and topics was as follows:

Prof. Paul Robert Magocsi, FRSC (Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto) “The World of Andrei Sheptytskyi”

Prof. Liliana Hentosh (Chair of History of the Catholic Church, Institute for Historical Research, Lviv National University) “Metropolitan Sheptytskyi and the Jewish Community: Archival Sources and Contextual Approaches”    

Prof. Myroslav Marynovych (Vice-Rector, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv) “Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and the Jews: An Ethical-Historical Analysis”

Right Rev. Dr. Andriy Chirovsky (Peter and Doris Kule Chair of Eastern Christian Theology and Spirituality, Sheptytsky Institute) Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky:  The Spiritual Core of a Complex Personality”

The session concluded with a 20-minute video presentation entitled, “Jewish Voices on the Compassion and Courage of Metropolitan Andrey.”

Special acknowledgement was given to the motion adopted, by unanimous consent, in the Parliament of Canada on the previous day honouring Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.

The motion reads:

Whereas Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky (1865-1944) of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, was the leader of Western Ukraine’s largest faith group during the period of the Second World War; and

Whereas in the darkest period of Europe’s history, with the deepening horrors of the mass murder of Jews in their homelands in Eastern Europe under German occupation during World War II, he spoke out eloquently against anti-Jewish violence and urged his congregants in a famous homily:  “Thou Shalt Not Kill;” and

Whereas leaders and representatives of all Ukraine’s major faith communities – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim – are visiting Canada to acknowledge Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s good works; and

Whereas Metropolitan Sheptytsky acted to shelter and rescue Jews, saving over 160, including some present with us in Ottawa today;

This House is united in expressing Canada’s recognition of Andrey Sheptytsky’s courageous actions, compassion for his oppressed Jewish Ukrainian countrymen, and enduring example of commitment to fundamental human rights as humankind’s highest obligation.

In closing, Father Stephen, the director of the Institute, thanked Mr. Temerty and the UJE for their vision and sponsorship, Prof Dominique Arel and the MASI staff for the organization of the Symposium, and the panel for their excellent presentations.  In conveying his appreciation to the Council of religious leaders, he noted that while the Council expressed its gratitude to Canada for the many times it has recognized Ukraine in a formal way, it was important to underscore the profound gift the Council has brought to Canada.  “You showed us what it means not only for one denomination to live in harmony with another, but how multiple churches and multiple faiths can all live together as sons and daughters of God.” Such a gift, he said, was worthy of the legacy of him whom we honoured, our patron: Metropolitan Andrey.